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I’m pregnant, and the child’s father and I want to raise the baby together whether or not we stay together. What should we consider? Any advice?

There’s some work and planning to do if you want to have a successful partnership. Bringing a child into a relationship can be difficult and can create a whole set of new challenges for you two to work on together.

It’s important for you to spend some time figuring out how you feel about the child’s father. How would you define your relationship with him? Are you together as a couple? Are you just friends? Are you barely speaking? What kind of relationship would you like with him in the future? After you’ve had some time to yourself, it can be helpful to talk things through with a trusted adult in your life.

Once you’re more in touch with how you feel, have a conversation with him about what you’ve come up with. Talk about how having a child will change your lives. Is your relationship strong enough to survive the significant changes that come with a child? What does each person need to do to make the relationship more solid?

Be honest with him about your relationship and your feelings. During this conversation, give him a chance to respond and to express how he’s feeling, too. You do not necessarily need to make decisions during the conversation. You both might need time to think about it more after you’ve heard what the other person has to say.

It’s also important to discuss how and where you’ll live—separately or together, in an apartment, at one of your parent’s homes or each at your own home. You may also find it helpful to divide responsibilities for caring for the baby. Will one of you stay home during the day? Or will you both work or go to school and have a relative or daycare provider care for your child?

Basically, you’re figuring out the best ways to start building this new life. Many towns offer programs for teen parents. They can teach you how to prepare for life with a baby. They might even have counseling services to help the two of you strengthen your relationship and parenting skills.

If you decide that the romantic part of your relationship won’t work, you still have a child to raise together. Some people call this “co-parenting,” which means sharing the various tasks of raising a child even though you’re no longer a couple. Kids can benefit from caring and supportive relationships with adults in their lives, including both of their parents when possible.

Establishing some ground rules with your co-parent can be helpful. For example, you might agree to establish some of the following rules:

    1. No arguing in front of the child.
    2. No bad-mouthing the other parent in front of the child.
    3. Be courteous and respectful to each other.
    4. Keep your word, and be dependable.
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